In view of declining trend observed in the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi and also considering the meteorological/ weather forecasts by IITM/ IMD, the Sub-Committee for invoking actions under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) of the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas (CAQM) met today to review the air quality scenario. While reviewing the overall air quality parameters of Delhi-NCR and other aspects, the Sub-Committee noted that forecasts by IMD/ IITM do not indicate the overall AQI of Delhi slipping into ‘Severe’ category in the coming days and is likely to stay in the ‘Very Poor’ category. It is therefore felt that it is advisable to relax the stringent restrictions and roll back Stage-III of GRAP with immediate effect in the entire NCR.
AQI of Delhi has improved from the level of 399 (nearing ‘Severe’ category) observed on 30.12.2022 to 343 (‘Very Poor’ category) recorded today (04.01.2023). The preventive/ restrictive GRAP-III measures invoked on 30.12.2022 might have also helped the AQI levels not touch the ‘Severe’ category (AQI > 400) and forecast by IMD also does not predict the AQI levels reaching the ‘Severe’ category in the coming days.
The GRAP Sub-Committee in its earlier meetings had invoked actions under Stage-I, Stage-II, Stage-III and Stage-IV of GRAP in the entire NCR on 05.10.2022, 19.10.2022, 29.10.2022 and 03.11.2022 respectively. Further, Sub-Committee in its review meeting revoked the actions under Stage-IV (‘Severe+’ Air Quality) of GRAP on 06.11.2022, and revoked Stage-III (‘Severe’ Air Quality) of GRAP on 14.11.2022 after considering the improvement in air quality of Delhi and AQI forecasts of subsequent days. Stage III of GRAP was again invoked in the entire Delhi-NCR on 04.12.2022 after sudden increase in the overall AQI of Delhi and was in place till 07.12.2022 due to revocation in view of improvement observed in the overall air quality of Delhi. Based on the decision of the Sub-committee on GRAP, actions upto Stage-III of GRAP were invoked on 30.12.2022 in the NCR, pursuant to prediction of a significant deterioration in the average air quality of Delhi from 30.12.02022 onwards.
Furthermore, as the actions under GRAP are essentially emergency response and are disruptive in nature impacting a large strata of society, the Sub-Committee, accordingly decided to revoke the order, issued vide dated 30th December, 2022 for implementation of actions under Stage-III of GRAP with immediate effect. All actions under Stage-I to Stage-II of GRAP shall however remain invoked and be implemented, intensified, monitored and reviewed by all agencies concerned in the entire NCR to ensure that the AQI levels do not slip further to the ‘Severe’ category. All implementing agencies shall keep strict vigil and especially intensify measures under Stage I & II of GRAP which include the following:
- Mechanical/vacuum-based sweeping of roads to be carried out on a daily basis.
- Ensure water sprinkling along with use of dust suppressants (at least every alternate
day) on roads to arrest road dust especially at hotspots, heavy traffic corridors, vulnerable areas (before peak hours) and proper disposal of dust collected in designated sites/landfills.
- Regular inspection and strict enforcement of dust control measures at C&D sites.
- Do not allow coal / firewood including in Tandoors in Hotels, Restaurants and open eateries.
- Ensure hotels, restaurants and open eateries use only electricity / clean fuel gas based appliances
- Enhance Parking fees to discourage private transport and
- Ban use of Diesel Generators except for emergent and essential services and regulate their use for industrial applications as per Directions No. 54 to 57 dated 08.02.2022.
C&D project sites and industrial units which have been issued specific closure orders on account of violations/ non-compliances of various statutory directions, rules, guidelines etc. under no circumstances shall resume their operations without any specific order to this effect from the Commission.
Further, the Commission has once again appealed to the citizens of NCR to cooperate in implementing GRAP and follow steps mentioned in the Citizen Charter under GRAP. Citizens are advised to:
- Use public transport and minimize use of personal vehicles.
- Regularly replace air filters at recommended intervals in your automobiles.
- Avoid dust generating construction activities
Various agencies responsible for implementing measures under GRAP and Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) of NCR and DPCC have also been advised to ensure strict implementation of actions of Stage-I and Stage-II under GRAP in the NCR to prevent deterioration of air quality.
Further, the Commission shall be keeping a close watch on the air quality scenario in the coming days for appropriate decision on GRAP. The revised schedule of GRAP is available on the Commission’s official website and can be accessed via caqm.nic.in